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Tour de Tech: Cranks, telemetry and beefy BBs

During the Tour, you can now see exactly how hard some of the riders are pedaling, as well as how fast they are going, how fast their pedals are going around, and how fast their heart is pumping. This is due to special agreements between SRM and the Saeco and T-Mobile teams. Even though many riders would like to use SRMs in more races, it is often not possible due to it conflicting with their crank sponsor. Furthermore, the SRM cranks are not as light, and not as stiff as the latest oversized hollow cranks, so riders are reluctant to take that step backward. But now SRM’s Ulrich Schoberer

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By Lennard Zinn

SRM founder Ulrich Schoberer with Saeco's Gerrit Glomser.

SRM founder Ulrich Schoberer with Saeco’s Gerrit Glomser.

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During the Tour, you can now see exactly how hard some of the riders are pedaling, as well as how fast they are going, how fast their pedals are going around, and how fast their heart is pumping. This is due to special agreements between SRM and the Saeco and T-Mobile teams.

Even though many riders would like to use SRMs in more races, it is often not possible due to it conflicting with their crank sponsor. Furthermore, the SRM cranks are not as light, and not as stiff as the latest oversized hollow cranks, so riders are reluctant to take that step backward. But now SRM’s Ulrich Schoberer has built his system into a Cannondale Hollowgram SI cranks for Saeco and into Dura-Ace 10-speed cranks for T-Mobile. So the crank performance is the same and the weight gain is slight. During the Tour, the data of a few riders can be viewed live online. The power, cadence, speed and heart rate of Gerrit Glomser and perhaps other Saeco riders later on in the Tour, will be viewable on www.cannondale.com and on www.2peak.com live.

Not for spare tubes. This is an SRM telemetry unit

Not for spare tubes. This is an SRM telemetry unit

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For T-Mobile, the heart rate information will only be available, and that is through Polar, even though Giant engineers will be collecting all of the power, speed and cadence information as well in order to improve their bike designs. That Web site for viewing of the Polar heart rate monitor data is not yet set up, but we will let you know when it is.

What about famous SRM user Lance Armstrong? I asked Trek team liaison Scott Daubert about that, and he expressed some frustration with T-Mobile getting the Dura-Ace SRM cranks and not Postal.

“That was Lance’s idea, to have an SRM built into his Dura-Ace crank,” said Daubert, “and we have stopped sending Uli (Schoberer) any more cranks to customize, now that T-Mobile got them first.”

Daubert says that a few years ago, it was no problem using the SRM cranks, because they were as good as any other cranks.

“But now, the new Shimano cranks are so much stiffer that there is a change in feel switching back and forth between the SRMs and those. When you are trying to dial everything in, that is not ideal. So having one built into the Dura-Ace crank is far preferable.”

Speaking of crank stiffness, the enormous power of Alessandro Petacchi can put a lot of flex into a crankset. So Pinarello has come up with a new bottom bracket for his Pinarello Dogma to stiffen the system up. The bottom bracket shell is huge, and the bearings and spindle and cups are huge as well. Still hasn’t paid off for the big rider from La Spezia at the Tour, but we probably will see more of him at upcoming finishes.

No flex: Petacchi won't be getting too much wobble in sprints

No flex: Petacchi won’t be getting too much wobble in sprints

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Until tomorrow.
Ciao,
Lennard

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